To quiet calls for more government oversight of the industry's ad practices, food makers on Friday plan to propose new responsibilities for the Children's Advertising Review Unit.
CARU, as the organization is known, is an industry-backed arm of the Better Business Bureau that reviews TV advertising for voluntary compliance with industry-set advertising policies.
CARU's new duties would be expanded to include setting guidelines for paid product placements within children's shows and limits on "adver-games," online interactive games in which candy, drinks and brand characters appear. Violators of existing CARU guidelines are typically asked to stop running ads that don't comply with guidelines.
The guidelines for product placements and adver-games will be unveiled in Washington Friday by the Grocery Manufacturers Association during the second day of a Federal Trade Commission workshop on food marketing and childhood obesity.
GMA also will recommend making it easier for parents to file complaints about food ads to CARU through toll-free lines. GMA's suggestion comes as folks like Iowa Senator Tom Harkin called for more government oversight of food marketing to kids.
GMA wasn't looking for that. "Self-regulation and CARU are effective methods for insuring responsible advertising to children," said GMA spokeswoman Stephanie Childs.